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IPhone maker Foxconn announced extension of closure, workers’ dorms inspected

Foxconn iPhone plant in India, hit by massive food poisoning, will extend the weekly closure by another three days, a senior Tamil Nadu state official told Reuters.

The plant, which employs about 17,000 people, was due to reopen. some operations on Monday, but production is now expected to resume Thursday with 1,000 workers, the official said, adding that the state government had carried out inspections of workers’ dormitories.

Protests erupted last week after more than 250 women working in a factory and living in a dormitory received treatment for food poisoning. Some of the protesters were detained by the police but later released.

The incident drew attention to the living conditions of the workers, most of them women, who live in dormitories near a factory located in the southern city of Chennai.

The Taiwanese contract manufacturer for Apple and other big tech companies, as well as 11 of its contractors, including those providing food and living space, were called in to meet, the official said. The official was not allowed to speak about this and refused to give his name.

The state government asked Foxconn to review the services it provides to workers, including hostel backup meals, food and water, and the HSE also recommended providing recreational facilities such as a TV, library and indoor games, the official added. …

According to a separate government source, Foxconn told government bureaucrats that it “ramped up production too quickly” and would gradually upgrade production facilities before they return to full capacity.

Foxconn and Apple representatives were not immediately available for comment.

The factory gate, which is located on the outskirts of the southern city of Chennai, was opened Monday morning and some cars were driving in and out, but the area was largely deserted.

The impact on Apple from the closure of the factory that makes the iPhone 12 models and the launch of a trial production of the iPhone 13 will be minimal, analysts said. But the plant is strategically important in the long term as Apple tries to reduce its dependence on China’s supply chain amid trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.

The disruption occurs as Apple tackles the pandemic-related supply chain bottlenecks that have hit production. In October, the company warned that the impact of these supply chain problems would worsen during the holiday quarter.

The riots at Foxconn were the second in a year to involve Apple’s Indian supplier plant. In December 2020, thousands of contract workers at a Wistron-owned factory destroyed equipment and vehicles due to alleged non-payment of wages, causing an estimated $ 60 million in damage.

Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, California, has made a big bet on India since it began assembling iPhones in the country in 2017. Foxconn, Wistron and another supplier, Pegatron, have collectively invested nearly $ 900 million over five years to manufacture the iPhone in India.

© Thomson Reuters 2021



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